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United States

Irish developer reserves 960MW Montana transmission capacity

UNITED STATES: Irish developer Gaelectric has raised $18million to reserve transmission capacity for 960MW of wind in Montana.

Gaelectric raised the money from hybrid debt-equity instruments, drawing on European private equity.

The company said it has placed the money on deposit with transmission operators NorthWestern Energy and Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to book transmission capacity on their networks.

Gaelectric has options on about 250,000 acres of land in Montana.

It says its "medium-term objective" for the state is to bring 2GW of wind to shovel-ready stage.

Gaelectric North America president Eamonn McGrath said: "Gaelectric is the first wind developer to book transmission capacity at a scale which will allow renewable power to be exported from some of Montana's highest wind energy sites directly to markets in the Pacific Northwest."

The company had earlier signed an agreement with transmission company Tonbridge Power to study the feasibility of the Green Line, a proposed 100-mile link between Montana and the BPA grid.

The two companies were to spend $500,000 on the study, and their agreement allocates Gaelectric at least 500MW of transfer capacity.

Gaelectric opened its US operations in Great Falls, Montana in 2006.

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